Ali Mezarcıoğlu What Does Being Roma Mean?

Roma people are one of the biggest Gypsy groups of the Balkans. Roma people have a language named Romanes and a history of 1000 years which started in North India. Although the oldest ancestors of Roma started their long journey in India, Roma Gypsies are real Balkanians. Either Romanes language and the other features of Roma culture were complated in the Balkans after a long migration process.

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Different Gypsy groups live in the different parts of the world. The main similarity of these groups is their way of subsistence, commercial nomadism (peripatetic niche). Their lands, herds and forestal areas were captured by violence and they have had no other possibility to subsist except producing some craft productions and serving services in exchange of food with food-producing societies. Ancestors of contemporary Roma society also subsisted on traditional Gypsy occupations like basket-making, musicianship, sieve-making, tinsmithing, blacksmithing, healing on account of the fact that there were no other possibility. When traditional Gypsy occupations start to dissappear with spreading of industry, only a few lucky Roma become lawyer, doctors, teachers or engineers... Most of the Roma living in Balkans are making their live hard way and subsist on jobs with low income and unpreferred by the rest of society.

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We, Roma Gypsies, are the members of a very poor society. Only a few of our brothers and sisters were able overcome the circle of extreme poverty. Neverthless we have been succesfull to maintain our culture. Roma are one of the respectful nations of the Balkans without any suspicion.

Roma:

-is the most common ethnicity of the Balkans. There is no country in the Balkans in where no Roma live. The most important commonality of the Balkan countries is Roma.

-also live in the other parts of the world primarily West Europe together with the indigineous Gypsy groups. Some members of Roma society were able to have a governor position in these countries.

-Roma culture unite western and eastern civilizations in itself. This is also true for the language of them, Romanes. Romanes is the only Balkan language which include elements of Indian, Persian, Turkic and Caucasian languages.

-Roma have been a peacefull society in history like the other Gypsy groups. Roma haven't been a part of the terrible wars even in the periods of bloody ethnic conflict of the Balkans (There are only a few exception of this rule).

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Being Roma means being Balkanian. There is no land in the Balkans that the ancestors of Roma walked on it. Roma culture is one of the important elements of the Balkans which can not be imagined without the geography. The future of Roma is strongly related with the future of the Balkans. Spreading of peace in the Balkans means a peacefull future for Roma.

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